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The Many Ways the Government Protects the Business of Bottled Water

August 01, 2006 | 17,778 views

The bottled water industry currently has annual sales amounting to over $35 billion worldwide, and is the fastest-growing segment of the beverage industry.

Bottled water is often perceived as safer than tap water. But in fact, tap water often adheres to stricter purity standards than bottled water, and 40 percent of bottled water actually begins as tap water in any case.

In one study, a third of more than 100 bottled water brands tested for contaminants were found to contain chemicals such as arsenic and carcinogenic compounds, at levels exceeding state or industry standards.

Gaps in the Regulations

Although the EPA regulates public water supplies, most bottled water is overseen by the FDA, which is allowed to apply EPA's water regulations selectively. Gaps in the regulations could allow careless or unscrupulous bottlers to market unsafe products.

For example, the FDA imposes no specific requirements regarding proximity of bottled water sources to industrial facilities or waste dumps. One brand of "spring water" was at one point actually taken from a contaminated well in the parking lot of an industrial facility.

The FDA also has no official procedure for shutting down bottled water sources if they become contaminated. And while EPA rules specify that there can be no E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria in tap water, the FDA simply sets a maximum allowable level for the bacteria in bottled water. Products such as flavored, carbonated, soda, and seltzer water have even looser standards.

State Standards

Bottled water that does not cross state lines is not even regulated by the FDA, but is subject only to state standards, which vary widely. Forty-three states have one or no government personnel overseeing bottled water regulation. Many states require disinfection, which is sometimes done with chemicals that are potentially hazardous themselves, such as chlorine and ozone gas.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The means that the bottled water companies used to become the fastest growing segment of the packaged drinks industry is the same one the drug companies have used: lax governmental regulations that allow them to play a high-stakes poker game with your health. Even when bottled water is "disinfected," it's typically done with chlorine, itself a toxic substance.

Drinking enough pure water is vital to your health. But much of the water available to you, both tap water and bottled water, is tainted with chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.

The filtering process used on bottled water does not remove fluoride, a bone poison that you should avoid at all costs. If you want to know more, I recommend that you read The Fluoride Deception, or review the links in What Your Dentist Isn't Telling You About Fluoride.

Bottled water is also creating an enormous strain on the environment. Not only is it transported over long distances, but enormous amounts of energy are used to created the bottles that store the billions of gallons of bottled water being consumed worldwide.

It's best to use water from your own well or municipal water supply, which you can filter with a reverse osmosis filter to remove the dangerous contaminants.

[+] Sources and References

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